Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Irene Huddle voted for Calvin Coolidge in 1924, just four years after women won the right to vote in the United States.

She played baseball as a girl — first base — and as a young woman developed a penchant for red wine and chocolate that has endured.

At 110, Huddle is one of the oldest people on the planet, not to mention her senior status at Assumption Village in North Portland.

Though she’s a Methodist, Huddle is happy to live at this former Catholic parish, where Mass is celebrated daily.

She’s hard of hearing, but still alert, mobile and able to assert herself. When asked how she prays at her age, she responds: “It’s none of your business.”

Born in 1900, she grew up in Manitoba, Canada and came to the U.S. young. She got married at age 19, but her husband was sickly and she become a widow in 1930. She never remarried.

Huddle lived in San Francisco for years, teaching school and working in the children’s section of a department store.  

She has no children but does have several nieces and nephews who care for her.

Huddle has always eaten lightly and is unflappable.

“I take things as they come and I’m very level-tempered,” she says. “It’s the only way to live.”

She has always liked to read and still reads.  She watches all manner of sports on television.

“She is the sweetest woman I know,” says Lonna Jackson, activities director at Assumption Village. “I want all of St. Johns and Oregon to celebrate with her.”

Other residents respect Huddle.  

“She’s a wonderful woman and a kind Christian woman,” says one octogenarian, helping Huddle out of a chair. “She’s also a tough lady.”

Huddle’s advice to her juniors: “Just live a good, clean life.”

She says that when it comes to life, there is such a thing as too much. She’s tired, she explains, and ready to move on to greater things.